Yes, you can enjoy delicious vegan scalloped potatoes without added nuts. gluten or oil. We’re going to make them even more delectable by adding my newly discovered easy tofu sheet pan bacon.
Easy tofu sheet pan bacon
A few weeks ago, I had a complete epiphany about making tofu bacon. My past practice has been to press the tofu and then marinate and bake it. I’m going to say up front, that I still love this method; however, the trick to getting that smoky, savory taste is getting as much tofu as possible to absorb the marinade.
Enter my food processor. After pressing the tofu, I wondered ‘what would happen if I just blended all the flavor directly into the tofu?’ Here’s what I learned – you most certainly won’t need to marinade it any longer.
My big takeaways
Here’s what I also learned – once blended, your tofu is forever changed. Even though you press it, blending leaves you with a tofu paste. Easy solution though, I simply spread it thinly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and baked it until brown.
After a few tries, I can report that it’s important to spread the tofu as evenly as possible. Otherwise, it will get very brown on the edges without the middle cooking. It’s ok if you bake this and a bit of the middle is slightly lighter than the outside. You’ll be baking it in the casserole.
Bacon bits AND enough for a sandwich
I made the bacon bits by just crumbling it with my hands, but you can dice it. I found that ½ block (4 ounces) of tofu is about the right amount for this recipe, but if you do an entire block, just crumble what you need and cut the rest into strips. That was you can make a veggie TLC sandwich or quick wraps.
Vegan scalloped potatoes – a healthy approach
After posting my favorite creamed onions recipe last week, which admittedly we absolute loved and have no intention of giving up any time soon, I decided that I would work on curbing my reliance on cashews for making creamy sauces. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m ditching cashews forever. I still believe that a head of cauliflower with a few cashews results in the ultimate, creamy basic bechamel (white sauce). So why give it up at all?
Variety, that’s why
I believe that over reliance on any one ingredient comes at loss. It’s first a loss the creativity and opportunity to explore something new and secondly, you can sacrifice nutrition. In the case of cashews, nothing wrong there, but I took on a challenge to make scalloped potatoes as healthy and low fat as possible. This was a challenge to me. Always keep pushing and expanding your repertoire, but never compromise on flavor.
Making vegan scalloped potatoes gluten free
So, I used a few tricks with this sauce. Nothing fancy. I used arrowroot as the thickener. If you haven’t used that before, it’s quite wonderful.
What is arrowroot?
Arrowroot isn’t flour, it’s a gluten free powder made from maranata arundiaceaa which is a tuber (root). Although we aren’t focused on gluten-free around here, I love arrowroot because it doesn’t get lumpy like flour will. If you start exploring this wonderful stuff for making gravies and sauces, I’ll give you my advice. Add it slowly. It will get thick and if you overdo it (as I have before), you can end up with something that resembles a science class polymer. I did this once making gravy and it was quick an interesting consistency. Very thick and well, bouncy. I’m providing the perfect amount for this recipe, so not to worry. It’s just a note in case you start using it more regularly.
Not marinating the tofu cut down on the cooking time quite a bit for this dish; however, you’ll want 45 minutes to an hour for your vegan scalloped potatoes to cook in the oven. Because you’ve pre-baked the bacon bits, cover it for most of the cooking process so you don’t end up overly crispy bacon. Cooking time will also depend on how thin you cut your potato slices. I used my food process on the fine slice blade for this purpose so I would have greater consistency of the thickness. You can also use a mandolin if you want super-thin slices.
I made this dish a few times to ensure that I’d perfected it and I can honestly report that we loved it every time. It is the ultimate in creamy, savory potatoes with just a hint of cheese from the added nutritional yeast. It comes together easily as you can prepare the potatoes and make the sauce while the tofu baked and cools. Then it’s just a slide in the oven to wait, while the smell fills up the house. I’d tell you that this is a prefect holiday recipe – it is. But I’d also tell you that it doesn’t need to wait for that. This is isn’t a 30-minute dish, but it certainly deserves consideration when you have a few extra minutes to get dinner on the table.
Can I prepare vegan scalloped potatoes in advance?
The answer to that some parts, yes. The tofu bacon is a no brainer. I’ve kept it several days ahead and stored it in the fridge. The only problem is holding yourself accountable for not dipping in and snacking on it to the point that you don’t have enough for the potatoes.
Your sauce can also be made ahead and stored in the fridge. Although I wouldn’t advise doing the potatoes a day in advance, you can peel and slice them and keep them in a bowl or pan filled with water and ice. That will keep them from browning for several hours. This leaves you to do a few other things if you are preparing a big meal.
I know potatoes get a bad wrap in some dieting circles and scalloped potatoes, even more demonized. In truth, like so many foods, the healthiness of potatoes is all about how they are prepared. Learning a few easy tricks such as making perfect oven baked chips without oil, using nut milk to mash and considering what you put on the baked potato are super-simple ways to get back to enjoying potatoes rather than demonizing them. Let’s not make food the enemy here. Our list of foods we eat on a plant-based diet is far, far greater than what we don’t eat. You can revel in the taste of scalloped potatoes or fries and you can do without guilt. Now that’s freedom. Peace.Print
Made with easy baked tofu bacon and a creamy, nut-free, gluten-free sauce, this vegan scalloped potato recipe will satisfy you with every healthy bite.
Smoky sheet pan bacon
- ½ block firm tofu (4 oz/250 gm)
- 2 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce). Note: the tamari will keep your entire dish gluten free
- 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke (check the label that it’s gluten free)
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
For the potatoes
- 5 cups sliced potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
- 2 shallots finely diced (you can also use 2-3 tbsp. diced red onion)
- 2 cups plant milk (I used oat)
- 1 cups vegetable stock (or 1 cup water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (you can also use cornstarch)
- 1/4 cup cold water
Tofu sheet pan bacon
- To make the tofu bacon, first press the tofu for about 20 minutes to remove the extra moisture. Do this by pressing it between two flat surfaces and weighting the top down or use a tofu press.
- Once the tofu is pressed, pre-heat the oven to 4250 F (2200 C).
- Place the tofu in a food processor or blend and add all the remining ingredients (2 Tbsp. tamari, 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke, 2 tsp. maple syrup, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. onion powder and ½ tsp. black pepper). Blend until smooth, scraping the sides a few times.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a spoon or spatula, spread the tofu mixture evenly on the baking sheet (about ¼ inch or thinner).
- Place the tofu in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the tofu is brown and a bit crispy.
- Remove the tofu from the oven and allow it to cool before crumbling or cutting it into pieces.
Tip: you’ll want to use about 1 cup of bacon bits, so crumble that amount and leave any remaining tofu to use in sandwiches or wraps.
Timing tip: start the potatoes while the tofu is baking and leave it heated while you finish up the potatoes as this is the precise temperature you’ll need to bake the casserole.
For the scalloped potatoes
- Peel and thinly slice 5 medium potatoes. Set them aside in a bowl or pan with cold water while you make the sauce.
- In a medium saucepan, sauté the finely diced shallots for about 3 minutes until they start to break down. Add vegetable or water a tablespoon at-a-time if they start to stick.
- Add 2 cups plant milk, 1 cup vegetable stock, 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried thyme, ½ tsp. ground black pepper, ¼ tsp. paprika (or cayenne pepper). Stir to mix everything and allow it to simmer while you do the next step.
- In a small bowl or jar, whisk together ¼ cup arrowroot with ¼ cup water until you have a smooth paste. Add this to the simmering sauce and continue whisking until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes).
- In a small to medium oven friendly baking dish (mine was 10 x 7 inches), layer 1/3 the potato slices and then add 1/3 the sauce along with 1/3 the bacon bits. Repeat this twice more until your dish is full.
- Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake it for 50 minutes. Lightly pierce one of the potatoes to test for doneness and if it can easily be pierced, remove the foil or lid and allow it to brown on top for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to settle for 5 minutes before serving.
- Be sure to double the ingredients for the tofu bacon if you use an entire block. I based the recipe on half the amount.
- Prep time includes pressing the tofu for 20 minutes.
- As noted in my post, you can make the tofu bacon several days ahead of time as well as the sauce. This will cut down on the prep time and kitchen space if you are making a big meal.
- Reheat in the oven by wrapping leftovers in foil or use the microwave. You can use your original baking dish, but it might mean a bit more cleanup effort if it’s been baked twice.
- Category: On the Sige
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan scalloped poatatoes